The Commissioner’s Challenge: Dealing with the ESPN Devil

The Commissioner bit his lip. He opened his mouth to speak, and then closed it. Finally:

“All right, Norby! You have a deal.”
“You’ve made the right decision, my friend.”

The Commissioner wasn’t feeling like anyone’s friend, though. Having his bluff called had left a sour taste in his mouth. The kind of sour taste that could only be cured by one thing: steamrolling the players’ union.

Ever since the lockout, the Commissioner had dreamed of reorganizing the NHL’s staid divisional structure. He finally had a perfect scheme, and had secured the backing of the owners. All that was left was the players. They were refusing to budge; the new divisions would mean slightly less travel, and some of the men were concerned that this would affect the quantity of road tail they would be pulling. But today, he was going to put his foot down. The Commissioner dialed Paul Kelly.

“What do you want, Gary?”
“Well, you’re not going to get it. How many times do I have to tell you?”
“I am going to get it. And I’ll tell you why. Because I’ve been having you followed, Kelly.”
“I thought so. Your wife know about lithe young Billy?”
“Okay, Okay. I need a minute. Let me call you back.”
“I’ll give you five.”

Four minutes and forty-three seconds later, Kelly was back.

“You do what you gotta do, Gary. And I’ll do what I gotta do.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You threatened my family. I’m returning the favor.”
“You don’t have the stones.”
“Try me.”

Thwarted again. Kelly won’t agree to the realignment; the only choice, if he is to avoid being humiliated twice before breakfast, is to follow through. Will he do it? Does the Commissioner ruin Paul Kelly’s life, or grant him a reprieve?